The future of Watford's Green Loop cycle route was unveiled in an innovative way this month through an immersive virtual reality (VR) bike ride, which is also now available for people to view...
Watford Borough Council, in collaboration with Hertfordshire County Council and VR company Digital Urban, proudly presented this groundbreaking initiative that brought the proposed Green Loop improvements to life in stunning VR detail at Cherry Tree Primary School, Big Sports and Oxhey Activity Park from 8 to 10 September.
The Green Loop VR experience drew in an impressive and diverse crowd over three days, demonstrating the project's wide-reaching appeal. The town centre event saw 150 participants, while the Oxhey Park event attracted 60 attendees, and approximately 60 enthusiastic pupils from Cherry Tree Primary School took part in a special event designed just for them.
There was also overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants who praised the innovative VR consultation as an exciting and engaging way to understand and provide input on the Green Loop proposals, which were also well received.
Looking ahead, the Green Loop improvements are set to unfold over the next few years, as part of part of Watford Borough Council's ongoing commitment to promoting sustainable transportation. These improvements will all combine to make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians to get around the town using a cohesive network.
The whole loop includes key locations such as Watford Junction, Cassiobury Park, East Watford and part of National Cycle Route 6. It will help to connect schools, workplaces, shopping and leisure facilities, railway stations and Watford’s finest beauty spots.
These enhancements – along the quiet route that connects 6.7 miles of green space and heritage assets in the town - will include proposed new stretches of cycleway, widening and resurfacing existing cycleways and footways, improvements to cycle crossing facilities at key junctions and adding markings on roads and cycleway signage.
The computer-generated final video showcasing the Green Loop's future is also available for the public to view at youtube.com/@WatfordBoroughCouncil. This video is compatible with most devices, allowing anyone with their own equipment to explore the proposed changes at their convenience. There are exciting plans for future VR public events as well.
Simon Mabey, Founder of Digital Urban, said: "Our goal is to offer a fun and free experience that harnesses the latest VR technology, empowering residents to make a meaningful impact on the future of their town – where they live, work, and play. This experience is an exciting way for individuals of all ages to visualise and experience potential enhancements to Watford's cycling routes in the future.”
Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said: “Lots of us want to make it easier for people to cycle around the town and it is really important that we get people’s feedback on ways we can do this. The Green Loop VR experience brought the community together in an innovative and immersive way, showcasing the exciting future of Watford's cycling infrastructure. It's more than just a project; it's a vision for a sustainable, active, and connected town.”
Cllr Ian Stotesbury, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Sustainability: “With over 250 participants at the events, we saw firsthand the enthusiasm our community has for the Green Loop. The VR consultation was a game-changer, allowing people of all ages and backgrounds to actively shape Watford's future.”
These improvements will all combine to make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians to get around the town using a cohesive network. For more information, including all the proposals within the 20-year Transforming Travel in Watford programme, please visit www.watford.gov.uk/futuretravel.